QUICK N’ DIRTY
A simple wiring trick derives center channels.
By Michael McDonald
Illustration by Michael McDonald
Back in the late 1970s, I worked as a movie speaker to a quad system, and you’ll get true sur-
theater projectionist. That’s when I learned this round sound. The separation is great, even with
dead-simple trick for wiring a center-channel low-dollar stereos (don’t tell the Dolby and THX
speaker to augment the right and left channels. people). A good six-speaker arrangement would
To do it, you wire the left and right speakers be to use two excellent speakers for front and
to the amplifier as usual, red to red and black to rear channels with a four-channel stereo, and four
black. Then wire a middle speaker by connecting less expensive speakers in the corners.
one pole to the amp’s right red output and the Audiophile purists may complain that adding
other pole to the left red output. speakers decreases the overall impedance and
This will take the signal that’s shared by the left throws off the load balance between amp and
and right speakers, more or less, and put it in the speakers. But I’ve been using this hack in cars
middle. Then left and right speakers will produce and homes for decades, always to great effect.
only what is discretely left and right. Needless to
say, the center speaker must be capable of repro- Michael McDonald is an inveterate geek who works for the
ducing a full range of sound. Add a fifth and sixth federal government in Washington, D.C., as an IT specialist.